William de Kooning

Made by sxv

My goal is to try and recreate William de Kooning's art in a digital format in an hour.

Created: September 28th, 2015


In this project, my goal is to do some research about William de Kooning and recreate his style in a digital format.

To do this, I have looked into his history, his work set, and the particular techniques he uses to paint. In particular, the characteristics that his paintings share are:

Abstract - they are not meant to be realistic, but attempt to embody both tangible and intangible features through a different visual representation

Black lines - de Kooning tends to have strong black lines in his artwork

"Unfinished" - He was known for continually reworking his canvases, but he would also try to leave them with a sense of imcompletion

William is a Dutch abstract expressionist painter. Born in 1904, he was working by the time he was 12 years old in a firm of commercial artists. In 1926 he managed to stow away on a boat to the United States, and just a few years later he was mingling with the modernist artists of New York. He had exhibitions from 1948 to 1966.


In terms of choosing what I wanted to recreate, I figured I would go with arguably his most famous series, "Woman". In several different styles, de Kooning painted portraits of women. I also enjoy working with black and white, so that narrows it down to "Woman III". 



As I study this painting, I can see there are several techniques in applying the paint to the canvas, there is even evidence of what looks like dripping. There are also many different colors layered on top of one another and smudged into their neighbors, colors that you would never really associate with a realistic painting



Overall I think it was an okay attempt. Of course trying to depict a tactile, tangible painting via a digital is tough, but I tried to keep true to the aspects of the original. Those being interesting color choices (randomly splashed here and there), abstract subject, and strong yet ill-defined black lines.

This was done using Photoshop. Unfortunately I don't have a tablet, so the brush strokes don't seem very natural, but I did switch up the brush style in Photoshop for different details. I used several layers such as a gray layer, white layer, random detail layer, and finally a black lines layer. These helped me to separate the various aspects from one another.

I also discovered that I didn't realize how much detail was in this painting until I actually tried to recreate it. With every detail and color that I added, it seemed like there was yet another that I just discovered. No two colors and details are alike in this piece.

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My goal is to try and recreate William de Kooning's art in a digital format in an hour.